• Mon. May 20th, 2024

Baz Butcher retires from The White Hart pub, in Wytham

Byoxfordnewspaper

Oct 7, 2022

“I’m going to miss the customers the most,” said the landlord of an historic pub after making the ‘tough’ decision to retire.

Mark Butcher – known to locals as ‘Baz’ – has been running The White Hart pub, in Wytham near Oxford, for over after eight years.

However, the 64-year-old decided it was time to ‘hand over the reins to someone younger’ and has put the Grade-II listed building up for sale.

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“I’ve worked here for eight years,” said Mr Butcher “Before that a ran a cafe in St Giles and my bones are starting to ache.

The White Hart Pub in Wytham

“It’s a very demanding job and I needed to have a careful think about what to do. I ‘ummed and ahhed’ about it for a long time but I just thought maybe it was time to find someone younger to take the reins.

“I never really thought about retiring but something was telling me I needed to think about my wellbeing.

“You work 70, 80 and sometimes 90 hours a week as that is the nature of the business. It has been a fantastic career and I love it.”

The landlord, who helped get dining pods installed during the coronavirus pandemic, said that he will miss customers the most when he leaves as that was ‘the high’ of the job.

“Everyday I meet one or two people who are just lovely to speak to,” he said, “You learn a lot about their lives and their stories.

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The White Hart Pub in Wytham

“It’s the highs of the job, welcoming someone into the pub and giving them an exceptional time – it’s a real joy.”

His ‘number one objective’ is to now help find a new operator to ‘build on’ his work at the 18th century pub which has been featured everywhere from Inspector Morse to the romantic comedy Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.

Mr Butcher said: “It’s a pretty iconic pub for so many people and a lot of our customers come in because they were at university in Oxford and they met their partners there and were returning to the pub after 20, 30 years.

“It’s an important part of these people lives – it’s a very special place.”

Mr Butcher now hopes to go travelling across Europe with his wife, Joanna, once the pub has been sold on.

“I’ve missed not being able to travel,” he said. “My wife and I are calling it the grand tour and we’re going three to four months and will look at the places we could potential stay permanently – as well as partaking in my love of eating out.”

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The pub is now on sale with Fleurets, a property specialist, with the price is available upon application.

Read more from this author

This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford, Wantage and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Gee.harland@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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